Scholarships and STAR Grants

We focus 100% of our efforts on Technical Scholarships for high school seniors and STAR Teacher Mini-Grants for local elementary school classroom projects that encourage student citizenship and academics. 


At UTBEF, we do more than providing a $2000 scholarship to help with the cost of a technical degree. We also guide our scholarship recipients and their families through the transition from high school to college by providing mentoring, information, and resources to assist them in their journey. We also help by raising awareness through public outreach and media.


Application for the UTBEF Scholarship is through the common application at local high schools. This application is reviewed by the Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) and Pinellas County Education Foundation (PEF) and our organization are provided with a list of qualified candidates. The Scholarship Committee reviews the applications selected based on our criteria and selects one recipient per school. Preference is given to students entering directly into a career preparation course of study which produces certification or a degree.


To be eligible for consideration, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. A senior at Alonso, East Lake, Leto, or Sickles High School.
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  3. Confirmation of intent to enter an accredited Florida university, community college, or vocational/technical education program in the Fall semester of the year making the application.
  4. Must meet the HEF, PEF, or Leto Culinary Arts deadlines and guidelines.

Selection Criteria

Once qualifying applications have been received by the UTBEF Scholarship Committee, the selection will be made based on the following criteria.

  1. GPA
    Cumulative GPA must be a 2.5 or higher (unweighted) for his/her high school career.
  2. Leadership Skills
    Has the student demonstrated leadership in school, at home, and in the community? Examples might include coaching a younger sibling's youth sports team, taking on extra household duties due to a parent's illness, absence, or injury.
  3. Community Service
    Does the student have verifiable community service? Examples of this might include volunteer work with a local food pantry, serving as a teen counselor for a church summer camp, organizing a beach clean-up, or raising funds with Relay for Life.
  4. Financial Need
    Students meet the qualifications for free/reduced-price school lunches according to the Federal Poverty Guidelines

STAR Teacher Mini-Grants

The STAR Mini-Grant program provides funds (up to $500 per applicant) to elementary teachers to support teacher recognition for excellence in education at the elementary school level. Awards provide teachers the ability to recognize student achievements and citizenship and to support classroom academics and special projects that are not funded through the school district. Awardees and a guest are invited to the UTB Chamber/UTBEF Annual Awards Dinner in May.


The STAR Committee announces the availability of funds to the principals of the participating schools and applications are accepted through October. Selections are made in November and checks are presented to the recipients in December prior to Winter Break.  


All teachers at participating schools may apply for a STAR Mini-Grant. More than one application from each school may be submitted for consideration, by the maximum awarded to each school is $500 at this time. Submissions received can be for projects teachers have already performed or for proposed projects. 


Projects are evaluated on a point system with the following selection categories:

  1. Originality
  2. Purpose
  3. Impact on student achievement and/or behavior